The Golden Valley Police Department is considering a new tool that could help put the brakes on auto thefts after seeing a two-year rise in the crime.
The police department is considering the purchase of a bait car after auto thieves sped off with 43 vehicles between 2011 and 2012.
"People can get into cars extremely quickly," said Golden Valley Police Chief Stacy Carlson. "The cars just virtually disappear and many are never, ever recovered."
Carlson says auto theft is a tough crime to solve because often times thieves dump the car quickly, sometimes after committing another crime, or the stolen vehicle is used for parts.
With the use of a bait car, thieves are caught in the act because the car is secretly equipped with a tracking device and audio and video equipment. The cars used as bait are the make and model of the cars that are most frequently stolen.
"When the vehicle is out on the street, it looks like any other vehicle, you can't tell it's a bait car," said officer Wayne Johnson of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Minneapolis police have used bait cars since 1997, and in that time, tallied up nearly 450 convictions. It's one tool that's helped reduce auto thefts in the city by more than 68 percent since the late 1990s.
"There's really nothing you can fight when you're in a vehicle that doesn't belong to you, and you're on camera," said Johnson.
Golden Valley police already have the car that could be used as bait, but it will cost them up to $7,000 for the equipment to outfit the car. A pancake breakfast fundraiser is being held Aug. 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Covenant Village in Golden Valley.
For a list of the top ten most frequently stolen cars in Minnesota click here.
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